Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
January 31st, 2022
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

3 Ways Police Use Video Analytics Software

The evolving nature of video surveillance continues to change the game when it comes to investigations. Decades ago, the introduction of traditional video surveillance had a positive impact on the way law enforcement conducted investigations by giving officers evidence captured in real-time versus unreliable eyewitness accounts. And now video analytics can take that evidence to the next level. While police departments have no shortage of incidents to investigate, they often lack enough manpower to investigate them all as fast as they would like to, and that is where video surveillance comes in.

Utilizing video surveillance analysis can help security and police officers with critical everyday law enforcement, including:

  • Accelerating investigations through forensic features like facial and license plate recognition
  • Building trust in public safety and policing through data-driven community policing initiatives
  • Improving community safety and infrastructural efficiency by analyzing traffic patterns

Accelerate post-incident investigations

Time is of the essence when investigating an incident or crime. Police departments need to resolve investigations as quickly and accurately as possible, but that traditionally has included manual review of video evidence. Video analytics makes video searchable, actionable and quantifiable. By processing video data with video analytics technology, law enforcement can identify, classify, and index the objects in video footage, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, women, men, children, and animals. As a result, video analysis can greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to review video evidence from hours or even days to just minutes, and reduce human error.

One way that video surveillance analysis can help security and police officers accelerate investigations is through facial and license plate recognition. Alerts can be configured to notify law enforcement of the presence of a pre-determined object, like a person, in real-time or while reviewing video following an incident, both of which can help law enforcement identify and locate a suspect more quickly.

For example, investigators can input an image of a suspect or identifying criteria, such as a male wearing a blue shirt, black pants and a yellow hat. An alert can be configured to notify investigators whenever a face matching that description is detected on camera, or in the post-incident review of the video. Likewise, license plate recognition in video surveillance technology can be used to quickly notify in real-time police when there is a match to a suspect’s car or plates on a traffic camera and therefore the necessary resources could be deployed to the area.

Community Policing and fostering trust

Cities and towns have used forensic surveillance and traffic cameras for quite some time, and often partner with private businesses who use video surveillance to review their video evidence, when needed. In recent years, personal video doorbells and other home surveillance systems have become increasingly popular at private residences, giving law enforcement yet another tool in their toolbox when it comes to video surveillance analysis.

When permission is granted, private business or home video surveillance can be used in several ways, such as tracking and finding missing persons or identifying suspects. For example, footage can help police track down a suspect who abducted a child from a neighborhood or identify the perpetrator in a string of robberies. Layering a video analytics platform on top of video evidence can help investigators quickly comb through hours of video and hone in on key elements of their investigation.

This partnership between city residents and businesses and the local public safety authorities is the bedrock of Community Policing, the important strategy of encouraging closer cooperation between police and community members, in order to prevent crimes, accelerate investigations, and improve quality of life for constituents. Whether through dedicated mobile apps to deepen communication or sourcing video evidence to be analyzed for investigations, police can engage with the people of the local jurisdiction, build trust, and cooperate on initiatives that keep everyone healthy, safe and comfortable.

Traffic safety & efficiency

While video intelligence is incredibly useful in investigating criminal activity, it is also beneficial in uncovering traffic patterns and trends. This information offers city planners and first responders a way to collect quantitative data and attain situational awareness and is crucial to keeping motorists and pedestrians safe.

To best protect drivers and pedestrians, urban planners and law enforcement need to identify both pedestrian and vehicle hotspots. Knowing where and when traffic congestion occurs is the key to helping law enforcement mitigate collisions or congestion.

Video intelligence can be used to display heatmaps indicating high-traffic areas for both drivers and pedestrians. With that information, law enforcement can quickly deploy officers to conduct traffic details to ensure pedestrians are safe and that drivers are obeying the rules of the road. In the long term, this information can be used by city planners to reconfigure and optimize traffic patterns to be safer and more efficient.